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Ranka interviewed Geert Groenen after his loss to Hu Yuqing of China in round two of the Korea Prime Minister Cup.

Geert Groenen (photo Ito Toshiko)Ranka: First of all, we note you are listed as Gerardus in the tournament program.
Geert: Yes, and my passport says I am Gerardus Petrus Groenen, but I prefer to be known by the name my mother called me — Geert.

Ranka: All right, Geert, how did you qualify for the Korea Prime Minister Cup?
Geert: We had a qualifying tournament in the Netherlands and I won it.

Ranka: Please tell us about the game you just finished with the Chinese player.
Geert: I felt I was playing well, not so much in regard to the game itself but in regard to my attitude. I was playing very open-mindedly, trying to play flexibly, and it worked out quite well. Even Hu said I was playing strongly. But then I tried to stretch it a little. I resigned after trying to kill one of his groups.

Ranka: And in the first round?
Geert: That was a pretty easy game, against the player from Venezuela. My opponent (Javier Gonzalez, 2 dan) had to resign.

Ranka: How are you hoping to do in the coming rounds?
Geert: I’m hoping to be among the best Europeans. I’ll be very happy if I can get four wins. I didn’t prepare much, so five wins will be pretty difficult. Mostly, I’ll be happy if I play well.

Ranka: The last time we spoke with you was at the World Amateur Go Championship in 2010. Then you also said that you didn’t have time to prepare, because you were studying for an examination to change positions at your bank. How did that turn out?
Geert: I passed the exam and switched positions, but I didn’t get the position I had been hoping. Still, the position I did get suited me better than the one I had before, so it turned out all right.

Ranka: Is this your first visit to Korea?
Geert: This is my fourth time in Korea. The first was at the 1994 Tong Yang Cup. Michael Redmond and I were the only two Western players, and guess who I met in the first round. After losing that game I went right back home. Then I played in a team tournament in Korea in 2005. The team format made for a very good tournament. I think there were four or five European teams. I also played in the Korea Prime Minister Cup in 2006, and now again in 2012.

Ranka: What impression of Korea have you gained from these tournaments?
Geert: I wish I could spend more time in Korea. Except for the team tournament, the tournaments themselves have been too short! This time, before coming down to Gwangju, I spent three days sightseeing in Seoul. I stayed in Itaewon, a rather international area near the American base. It had a very vibrant atmosphere, very nice.

Ranka: Thank you and good luck in the coming rounds.

Postscript: Geert got his hoped-for win fourth win in the fifth round by beating Chen Chi-jui of Chinese Taipei, but then lost in the sixth round to Schayan Hamrah from Austria and finished tenth, fifth best among the Europeans.


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